Home Forums General General Is wargaming a sustainability-friendly hobby?

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  • #72610
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    A few days ago at my workplace we had someone in to deliver a lecture about sustainability (I work at an administrative authority where it’s part of our mission to be concerned with these kinds of matters). He’d been part of a think-tank type project that had estimated that for our way of life here in Sweden to become sustainable, we (the whole of the Swedish workforce) would have to gear down to a 30-hour workweek, and be paid accordingly. To be clear, it’s not the amount of work we put in that’s critical, it’s our salaries – and consequently our consumer strength. So, this conjectural drop in work hours should not be accompanied by a rise in wages or a drop in prices, as that would defeat the purpose. In this imagined “sustainatopia”, we’d adapt and learn how to lead rich, fulfilling lives with more leisure time but much more modest, low-cost, low-impact leisure activities. For instance, we would travel less, but we would consume more culture. (BTW, I’m assuming this guy has never been to the opera, or he would know that consuming culture can be expensive to the point of crippling sometimes).

    Obviously this was a fairly inconsequential, “far out” kind of lecture – we’re also concerned with economic growth and other matters of that sort at my workplace. But when he got to the part about more leisure time spent on more modest activities, it immediately had me thinking about the wargaming hobby. I keep wondering: Would I be content living that way? And am I sorely mistaken to instinctively think of wargaming as a low-cost, low-impact activity? Looking at all the wargaming products I keep buying, I might as well describe it as mad-dash consumerism.

    Steering clear of politics, could you picture yourself being content living in the sustainatopia described above, specifically in a way that entails a greater involvement in the wargaming hobby and/or other comparable hobbies, in exchange for quite severely curtailed purchasing power?

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Rhoderic. Reason: Making clear this is meant to be an apolitical question
    #72611
    James Manto
    Participant

    Yes

    More time wargaming  is how I view much of my retirement

    I just hope the Mrs agrees

    But compared to many other leisure activities warming is very low cost. Look at golf green fees or many sports events.

    You can spend a pile on top drawer stuff but you can trade sweat equity for money and DIY many things too

    #72619
    willz
    Participant

    I believe wargaming is a very self sustaining hobby, look at all the house hold items we regularly recycle into battlefield uses.  Old carpets, table cloths, green kitchen pads, coffee stirrers, cardboard, old children’s toys to name a few the list is endless.  Yes you can also spend large sums of money on pre-painted armies, pre-built terrain and buildings, you probably can pay someone to shove the figures across the table for you if you are rich enough.  You can also build the terrain yourself and buy second hand figures and do this hobby fairly cheaply.  As to sustainability you buy your one, two, three or more armies and you can use them over and over again.

    So in your country some one gets paid to to tell you how to recycle stuff and use less, can I have his job.

    #72624
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Well, this fellow was an economist with (at least) a baccalaureate in economics to his name…

    #72627
    Norm S
    Participant

    I have been wargaming for a long time, so can remember making trees out of matchsticks and cotton wool, later sprayed with watercolour green, using armies to proxy other armies and buying rulebooks that were in black and white, small booklet form and stapled.

    Somewhere along the way, we all got very sophisticated and now we ‘have to have’ x, y and z. I can’t help feeling that we lost something along the way.

    I also collect historical boardgames, after years of collecting, I have games that I will never return to and games that require a major re-reading of rules to get back into them. I have recently stopped my wider boardgame purchases and now get series games, so that the core rules can be known and remembered and then used to play a variety of modules / expansions. So less games on the shelves, but those I do have get played more often and are therefore enjoyed more.

    Wargame collecting is cheaper than many other hobby activities and much cheaper than booze and fags or going to the football or playing golf etc etc – though to be truly sustainable, our collections need to have life after we ourselves expire. I suspect a lot of my stuff will go to the tip by the hand of people who won’t understand how to convert wargame bits back into value (by donating or selling), or having the time to do so.

    For those of us with lead and plastic piles …. sustainability should be a serious question.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Norm S.
    #72629
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Dangerous ground!

    This is verging on politics, because ‘sustainability’ is a Humpty Dumpty word:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.””

    It was gaining currency some years ago in government circles here and was the usual jargon buzzword.

    But is wargaming a ‘sustainable’ hobby? Yes it can be.

    I play quite a few map games with a plastic overlay and chinagraph pencils – those pencils can be the landings at Arnhem, or Napoleon’s advance to Austerlitz, or the campaigns in the ECW. Eminently reusable with no worries about getting facing colours, gaiters or sash colours wrong!

    #72630
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    No politics intended. It was the bit about living with more leisure time but less purchasing power that caught my imagination. Given such a scenario, would I be happy to retreat into some comfy nook and just enjoy my hobbies? Or would my impulse to collect and my “ooh shiny!” complex trip me up? Would I feel like my hobbies can’t really replace other things in my life, like traveling far abroad once in a while, eating in all the cool urbanite hipster restaurants and trying to maintain some degree of sartorial respectability? These are the kind of thoughts I’m on about.

    I’ll edit the original post to make it clear this is not a political question. I apologise for bumping into the subject.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Rhoderic.
    #72634
    Victoria Dickson
    Participant

    With everyone in this situation most figure manufacturers would go out of business wouldn’t they?

    #72640
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Wargaming seems reasonably low-impact in the grand scheme of things, especially if the number of armies and boardgames one has bears some relation to the time one actually has for gaming (and painting, if one enjoys that).  I managed to be a wargamer as a child and that was funded entirely from birthday and christmas presents.  It also has the most tremendous replay value, especially if you have a bit of imagination; and aren’t too precious about always having the “exact” vehicle or the “exact” unit on the table and you are willing to do a bitof proxying.

    With everyone in this situation most figure manufacturers would go out of business wouldn’t they?

    And much as I love the makers and traders in this hobby, if the overall business model of toy soldier selling relies on large number of customers buying vast quantities of toy warriors and war machines to sit in bags in cupboards and lofts, perhaps that isn’t a business model particularly worth saving.

    All the best

     

     

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #72642
    McKinstry
    Participant

    I suspect that in terms of materials and energy consumed versus many/most other hobby/leisure activities, gaming of most stripes has a very low carbon footprint, generates relatively little waste and consumes only modest amounts of resources.

    This of course is speaking only in present terms and not the bad old days in which gamers would carve intricate 54mm figures out of the bones of mammoths and carrier pigeons while snacking on sausages made solely from endangered species with the entire gaming area lit only by whale oil lamps.

     

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    #72644
    MartinR
    Participant

    Wargaming is not an expensive hobby, although you can make it so.

    As for working a four day week forever, bring it on! The much higher proportion of people working part time, zero hours or self employed by choice or necessity these days would seem to indicate it is the way of the future.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by MartinR.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #72647
    willz
    Participant

    Ah now I only work 20 hours a week so I am part way there, maybe we could plant a tree  or flower every time we win a wargame.   That way we could be seen as a green hobby.

    #72648
    Mike
    Keymaster

    maybe we could plant a tree  or flower every time we win a wargame.   That way we could be seen as a green hobby.

    You have clearly not seen me play, no trees to be planted by me.

    However I think that any hobby can be cheap.
    You can fish with second hand low quality gear and enjoy it as much as you can enjoy it with brand spankers top of the range gear.
    We have a member of the community here who sculpts and casts their own figures to use.
    We have people that buy the latest shiniest models and those that buy second hand off ebay.
    It is as sustainable as you want it to be I think.

    #72662
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Steering clear of politics, could you picture yourself being content living in the sustainatopia described above, specifically in a way that entails a greater involvement in the wargaming hobby and/or other comparable hobbies, in exchange for quite severely curtailed purchasing power?

     

    All other things being equal, so less hours = less pay, but assuming bills and what not could be paid, yes.
    But not all my disposable income (which would be decreased in your model?) goes on gaming.
    The majority of it (such as it is) goes onto other things would could not be able to be home made, or traded for.

    I pretty much only play with stuff I make myself, but my other hobbies I can not make myself so whilst the impact on my ‘wargames’ hobby would be negligible, it would be much more noticeable on my other hobbies.

    So to summarise:
    I am not sure.

    🙂

    #72663
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I am being slow as anything today, sorry.

    If you are asking:

    “If you had less money but more time, would you play wargames more?”
    Then yes.

    #72664
    MartinR
    Participant

    I am being slow as anything today, sorry. If you are asking: “If you had less money but more time, would you play wargames more?” Then yes.

    And that is exactly what I plan on doing when my financial position permits. Daughter number 2 has to finish University first though.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #72665
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    could you picture yourself being content living in the sustainatopia described above, specifically in a way that entails a greater involvement in the wargaming hobby and/or other comparable hobbies, in exchange for quite severely curtailed purchasing power?

    I think I could, yes. My whole family (me, wife, two kids) play board games. We never seem to have enough time to play as many as we’d like, so more time to do so would be great. We have a collection of over 100 games, some of which we haven’t played yet, so I don’t think the reduction in money would be a huge issue, as long as we were still able to pay bills etc.

    Military history author
    Website : Twitter : Facebook

    #72667
    Ian Marsh
    Participant

    Sweden, of course, is a lovely country with the concept of “lagom”, an enviable record on recycling, a generally social democratic outlook, and therefore has a population that can cope with the concept of sustainatopia.

    Of course, wargaming has the potential to reduce use of new materials. Old metal figure collections can be melted down and cast into new figures, although with gradual contamination of the metal used. How many spouses have sent entire collections to the tip once their wargaming other half has gone?

    Theremoplastics can be re-used. If only there was a widely available way of recycling those terribly wasteful sprues on plastic figures. There are only so many you can use for other projects. How many are simply binned? At least when casting metal figures the sprues go back into the pot, and they are therefore relatively low-wastage figures.

    Can we be content with “just enough” figures. Well apart from the fact that I have a workshop full of stock for people who do not have a lagom collection 🙂 my actual wargaming needs are modest. Napoleonic armies up to about a division of figures because that’s a practical size to play with for an evening or afternoon. Enough for two sides of 28mm WWII to play Chain of Command. Two sets of Commands & Colors – the wargame in a box that existed pre-Perrys – for when time and space is tight.  But then, I’m not like my customers.

    If the worst comes to the worst, and plastics and metals vanish, we can all stick flags and symbols in kanelbullar, move them around the tabletop, and then eat the defeated. To the victor, the delicious, sustainable spoils.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Ian Marsh.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Ian Marsh.

    Ian
    Fighting 15s
    www.fighting15s.com

    #72671
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    This probably may not win me any friends (used to that), and maybe I should just walk on by, but it’s an open forum.

    I really don’t care. I will continue to consume while I have the means. I have no intention of working fewer, or more, hours for less money just to maintain the status quo.

    There’s a word for that political doctrine, it’s been tried, and it doesn’t work.

    /out

     

     

     

    "I'm not signing that"

    #72682
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Honestly, I already work way more hours than I get paid for, and this seems to be a general American sort of deal.  If I could just work the hours I was paid for I would indeed have a lot more free time on my hands, though I am sure the family would like to utilize that time to travel (if we could afford it).  At a 30 hour work week and 30 hours pay, with 2 girls about to hit high school and saving for college, we wouldn’t make it.  Architecture just doesn’t pay that much.  Now, my lady is an OB nurse and is about to go back to school for her RFNA so her salary will jump a crazy amount in a few years, but that’s a bit off…

     

    Now, all of that said, were we to live in such a sustainable society then yes I would game more.  I would have more time to paint and build terrain.   I would bet that it would be more 15mm and 6mm, probably mostly skirmish as it’d cost less and take up less space and require fewer minis (or use individual minis to reflect whole platoons).

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #72683
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Would also like to put in here that as posted above, a lot of mini manf. would die out in a sustainable society, just due to the cost of creating minis.  I just had 2 grav rafts and 3 scifi cars 3d printed at very high quality in 15mm, and it was $850.  Then come molds and casting.  That would be even more difficult to make back if things went “sustainable”.  It may sustainable as a lifestyle or a country wide economic model, but it would be death a lot of indsutries.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #72703
    greg954
    Participant

    My take on this is, I think wargaming is sustainable. I have other hobbies and interests and all would be effected if my income dropped. Comparing wargaming with a few other of my hobbies.

    I do a fair bit of shooting, buts it’s up and down. Not so sustainable if I had less money, even with more time. Clay shooting for example costs me over 50 quid. Ok so a days fun but I will have nothing tangible to show for it. Less money would certainly mean less shooting. I don’t think less money would mean I would wargame any less. My interest would still be there. But I might spend less money on models, paints etc…Which as mentioned above might start to effect general consumerism.

    As another analogy, I’m not playing World of Tanks much. Like table top wargaming it doesn’t have to cost much to do. But, Wargaming has pushed WoT’s in a direction I don’t like so I’ve stopped playing. I don’t have that problem with table top wargaming. I’m in control not reliant on a third party. That for me makes table top wargaming much more sustainable.

    #72710
    Patrice
    Participant

    30-hour workweek, and be paid accordingly. To be clear, it’s not the amount of work we put in that’s critical, it’s our salaries – and consequently our consumer strength. So, this conjectural drop in work hours should not be accompanied by a rise in wages

    Steering clear of politics

    No way.

    Paying lesser wages IS politics.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #72711

    It seems to me that wargaming is eminently sustainable, at least in relative terms.

    Consider:

    I am still playing with figures my uncles bought for me back in 1977. Absent lead rot, someone can still be playing with these in 2077. I have left instructions for my figures to be sold or donated when I die. I have done everything I can to assure that they don’t go into a dump. So those little bits of lead and plastic might end up being used for a century, or even longer!

    Now tell me: how many other things in your life can you say that about?

    How many computer or video games have you dumped in the garbage over the last forty years? Hell, how many cars or computers?

    When I come to think about it, miniatures gaming is probably one of the most sustainable hobbies there is. Anything that’s reasonably painted and taken care of can be sold or donated in the future. And prices are only going to increase. In fact, I can’t remember a single instance of me ever throwing away a miniature.

    How’s that for sustainability?

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #72714
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    30-hour workweek, and be paid accordingly. To be clear, it’s not the amount of work we put in that’s critical, it’s our salaries – and consequently our consumer strength. So, this conjectural drop in work hours should not be accompanied by a rise in wages

    Steering clear of politics

    No way. Paying lesser wages IS politics.

    Alright, fine, let’s drop it. For the record, I honestly don’t think the question itself is politics, it’s about life as a hobbyist, but if politics must force itself upon this subject, then it’s a subject I should never have brought up.

    I apologise. The best I can do to rectify it and reassert my good intent to participate in keeping TWW controversy-free is to suggest we drop the subject.

    In my defence, however, I do want to say that your quote makes it look like I’m saying we should have lower wages, which I’m not. I was relaying, in a non-preachy way, a hypothetical scenario which I myself found discordant in parts with the way I like to live my own life (because I’m the relatively spendy breed of hobbyist, yet don’t think my hobbies alone can make my leisure time feel adequately satisfying), and I was upfront about the inordinateness of said scenario. I strayed no closer to preaching politics than that, which from where I’m standing wasn’t terribly close. The political dimension wasn’t supposed to be there, and to some degree it has superimposed itself on the subject afterwards, though I will admit that the topic may have intrinsically carried the seed, which makes me foolish for not foreseeing it.

    #72716
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    No way. Paying lesser wages IS politics.

    To be fair he talked about working less and thus earning less, not working the same hours for less pay.
    So if you work 40 hours for £10.00 an hour, but you then decide to work 30 hours for £10.00 an hour, you have an extra 10 hours of hobby time, but less cash.

    Still being paid the same for each hour you work, but making that choice around work/life balance.

    #72719
    Patrice
    Participant

    30-hour workweek, and be paid accordingly. To be clear, it’s not the amount of work we put in that’s critical, it’s our salaries – and consequently our consumer strength. So, this conjectural drop in work hours should not be accompanied by a rise in wages

    Steering clear of politics

    No way. Paying lesser wages IS politics.

    I apologise. The best I can do to rectify it and reassert my good intent to participate in keeping TWW controversy-free is to suggest we drop the subject. In my defence, however, I do want to say that your quote makes it look like I’m saying we should have lower wages, which I’m not.

    No need to apologize …I probably reacted too fast.

    No way. Paying lesser wages IS politics.

    To be fair he talked about working less and thus earning less, not working the same hours for less pay. So if you work 40 hours for £10.00 an hour, but you then decide to work 30 hours for £10.00 an hour, you have an extra 10 hours of hobby time, but less cash. Still being paid the same for each hour you work, but making that choice around work/life balance.

    Yes I get this; the problem is, we don’t live in a perfect world. Many people don’t have a real choice.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #72787
    Cerdic
    Participant

    As far as a shorter working week and less spending power goes, Patrice is right. Most people really don’t have that choice. Especially in my neck of the woods. Housing is so MASSIVELY expensive that a 25% reduction in income would make half the population homeless!

    I expect I wouldn’t have much time for this economist feller. I’ve always been suspicious of people who try to tell everyone how they should lead their lives…

    #72788
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Most people really don’t have that choice.

    Yes, but if you did have that choice?
    Some people have no choice but to drink dirty unclean water, but here we are washing specialist hobby paint from sable brushes using clean tap water then throwing it away.

    The question was not is it morally acceptable, is it possible etc..

    But a simple, if you could earn less to play more, would you?
    That is certainly the message I took from it at any rate.

    ?

    #72789
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    But a simple, if you could earn less to play more, would you?

    Can you see a possible economic dichotomy there?

     

    This thread can’t help becoming political if it continues. Just my opinion, worth exactly what it cost.

     

     

     

    "I'm not signing that"

    #72798
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    I retired just over 4 years ago.

    I now “earn” around 40% of my former salary in form of my pension.

    I game* roughly twelve times longer per week than I used to when working.

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum? 🙂

    *painting, researching, learning rules & playing

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #72801
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    If we would spend more time wargaming, it would become boring.

    Hobbies are hobbies because we cannot afford to spend all our time pursuing them.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #72821
    Patrice
    Participant

    I understand that Rhoderic didn’t want it to become political.

    I’m sorry if I overreacted …there are very hard political debates in France now about such issues and it puts pressure on people.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #72822
    greg954
    Participant

    If we would spend more time wargaming, it would become boring. Hobbies are hobbies because we cannot afford to spend all our time pursuing them.

    Yeah, so it’s a treat. If we had more time then that would be detrimental? Causing a loss in interest and therefor effecting the sustainablily.

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